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Taking Responsibility

Mark A. Goldman                                                                    Dated: 10/01/08


What many people do not understand is that every time we buy an asset, whether it be a hot dog , a stock, a bond, a car, a home, or a bank CD, we are taking a risk.  Among the risks we take is that we might be buying an inferior product or entering into a deceptive transaction.  Someone might be trying to deceive or cheat us.  Or we might just misunderstand or be ignorant about the implications.  When any one person is cheated or deceived, everyone in society is harmed.  Every lie, every dishonesty impacts the consciousness in which we live… and so does every act of courage in pursuit of truth and intellectual integrity.  We need to relearn the lessons of history and teach them to our children.

We are facing a great economic crisis and we are all responsible. We choose our leaders.  We decide how to spend our time.  We choose the order of our preferences and our goals.  We decide what’s important and how much attention to devote to what’s important.   We choose what to study and how much time to spend trying to understand what we think is important.  We decide who we will trust and whether or not we should trust ourselves.   In ignorance or arrogance we sometimes make choices we regret.  Sometimes we blame others for our own failings or negligence.  This is how it is.

Anger clouds our judgment; arrogance does too.  Life is complicated.  Greed is an empty promise.  Taking advantage of others is cowardice.  We can’t hope to understand everything or become an expert in very many things.  Many of us suffer circumstances we cannot control.  We are all learning; so it is foolish to lament or beat ourselves up about loss due to inexperience or misunderstanding.  The best we can do is take responsibility for our decisions and circumstances and strive to do better … to seek perfection in our attitude even though we know we will never be perfect…  to seek understanding and justice... to do our part… hold up our end of the bargain… tell the truth… face and take responsibility for our errors… and keep going… to forgive ourselves and others. and yet not cave in or sell out.  Love and compassion make life tolerable and worth all the ups and downs. 

Nature is beautiful; children are wonderful; love is magical.  Art inspires and teaches us.  Kindness is ennobling… it dignifies, humbles, and makes us grateful to be alive.   Poetry and music join us together as family… and offers us understanding beyond limitations of language. 

Every end is a new beginning, an opportunity.  We shall rejoice in the future, and honor the lessons we learn from the past.  We will become wise, courageous, and decent.  And being decent will bring us together and we will find happiness in the wonderment of ourselves, of one another, and of life itself.  Poverty is not the absence of things, but rather it is the absence of courage and the unwillingness to take responsibility for what’s so.  So we are not destined to be poor for we are brave and resourceful.  We have everything we need. And the thing we need most is one another.


On Citizenship

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